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sabrigade

N12389 PTE S. MASEMULA; MILITARY MEDAL

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SOUTH AFRICAN NATIVE MILITARY CORPS

The Native Military Corps was established and existed from July 1940 to 1945. It consisted of 80 000 black African members from all the different South African tribes under the Non-European Army Services. The men served under white Officers and Non Commissioned Officers. The members were mainly mustered and used as stretcher-bearers; hospital orderlies; drivers;cooks; officer's servants and were used in support positions as non-combatants. A special tunneling company was formed under the South African Engineer Corps for service in North Africa. This company did sterling work in Syria. Eight Infantry battalions were formed within the Union of South Africa and they were issued with assegais. These Infantry battalions did not deploy on active service but were used to guard aerodromes and other key points in South Africa. Members of the Corps were awarded 1 Distinguished Conduct Medal and 14 Military Medals for gallantry during the Second World War. Most of these gallantry awards were awarded to the NMC stretcher bearers. The Corps wore a badge with an elephant within a wreath and a shield above with the Union Arms. The scroll with "N.E.A.S." stood for "NON-EUROPEAN ARMY SERVICE".

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Springkaan Masemula attested on 20 January 1941 in the Native Military Corps at the age of 24.

("SPRINGKAAN" MEANS "LOCUST" IN AFRIKAANS!)

He was attested as a Private and was allocated the force number of N 12389. He listed his mother, Honiga Masemula as his Next of Kin. An inhabitant of the Pretoria District, Masemula's religious denomination is stated as Anglican.

Masemula disembarked in Suez in North Africa on 15August 1941. Masemula was awarded 10 DAYS FIELD PUNISHMENT on 5 January 1942 for contravening the Military Discipline Code.

On 1 April 1941, Private Masemula was transferred to the 2nd South African Police Battalion and was later transferred to the 1st Battalion on 24 April 1941. The South African Police had sent a Brigade to North Africa that consisted of two Infantry battalions and a motor cycle contingent. The 6th or SAP Brigade formed part of theTobruk garrison and was called the 6th Infantry Brigade Group.

At 09HOO on the 2lst of June 1942, General Klopper surrendered Tobruk to General Rommel and 10 722 South African and 20 000 British soldiers were captured.

1200 of theSouth Africans captured were members of the Native Military Corps.

"It was a combination of shells, Stukas and Panzers. By 8 A.M. the infantry was through"

A GERMAN PARTICIPANT IN THE ASSAULT ON AND CAPTURE OF TOBRUK

After the surrender of Tobruk, Masemula was one of theSouth African soldiers listed as MISSING BELIEVED P.O.W. On 24 August 1942, Masemula's status as a P.O.W. was confirmed.

On 22 July 1942, Masemula and Private Tshaka escaped from Tobruk, an action in which both soldiers were awarded IMMEDIATE awards of the Military Medal for gallantry in the field. They had only reached their own forces lines on 18 August 1942. The immediate award was personally approved by Field Marshall Alexander, Commander in Chief of Middle East Command in a "MOST SECRET"citation.

After recovering from this ordeal, Springkaan was transferred to the 206 Motor Transport Company on 19 October 1942. Despite being a decorated "war hero", Masemula had 15 days' pay deducted from his salary for contravening sections of the Military Disciplinary Code. He returned to the Union of South Africa on 11 January 1944 and was discharged from the NMC on the 2nd of August 1945.

Edited by sabrigade

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PTE MASEMULA ON PARADE, THE MM RIBBON PRESENTED TO HIM BY MAJOR-GENERAL FRANK THERON,

(GENERALOFFICER ADMINISTRATION, UNION DEFENCE FORCE, MIDDLE EAST FORCES)

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NON EUROPEAN ARMY SERVICES WORLD WAR TWO NMC CAP MADE FROM ROUGH DARK SERGE MATERIAL

Edited by sabrigade

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THE MILITARY MEDAL

Instituted on 25 March 1916, the medal was awarded toNCOs and men of the British army and other services for individual orassociated acts of bravery on land and in the field. It was also awarded tomembers from the Commonwealth countries. The obverse has the sovereign's effigyand the obverse has the crowned royal cypher above the inscription "FOR BRAVERYIN THE FIELD". The ribbon has broad dark blue edges flanking a central sectionof three narrow white and two narrow crimson stripes. Over 15000 awards weremade during the Second World War, 14 were awarded to members of the SouthAfrican Non-European Army Services. Recipients of the medal were entitled touse the post nominal letters "MM". One wonders how many of the 14 have survived the passages of time!

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GALLANTRY DECORATION AND WW2 CAMPAIGN MEDALS AWARDED TO PTE MASEMULA

Edited by sabrigade

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2011/post-3034-0-59651100-1310971041.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2011/post-3034-0-68870100-1310971046.jpg

MILITARY MEDAL NAMED TO MASEMULA

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2ND SOUTH AFRICAN DIVISION DIVISIONAL INSIGNIA WORN FROM 1941 TO 1943

Edited by sabrigade

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2011/post-3034-0-83050300-1310972690.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2011/post-3034-0-20153100-1310972694.jpg

NON EUROPEAN ARMY SERVICES SOUTH AFRICAN WORLD WAR TWO "POLO" TYPE HELMET WITH BLACKENED BRASS METAL CAP BADGE

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BRASS METAL CAP BADGE BADGE VARIATION THAT WAS UNOFFICIALLY WORN DURING WW2

This is the same type of badge that Masemula is wearing on his helmet on parade when he recieved the ribbon for his MM.

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ORANGE-REDSHOULDER FLASHES AND NEAS SHOULDER TITLE WORN BY SOUTH AFRICAN FORCES DURING WW2

ORIGINALLYFOR VOLUNTEERS WHO SERVED ANYWHERE IN AFRICA.

EXPANSION FOR THE OATH OF SERVICE TOOK PLACE IN 1943 AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE NORTH AFRICAN CAMPAIGN.

THE "TAB" THEN INDICATED VOLUNTARY SERVICE IN ANY ALLIED WW2 THEATER.

SIGNATORIES TO THE OATH LATER QUALIFED FOR THE AFRICA SERVICE MEDA.L

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2011/post-3034-0-75616000-1310973778.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2011/post-3034-0-32514500-1310973781.jpg

ISSUE NMC SPEAR OR "ASSEGAAI" IN MY COLLECTION

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2011/post-3034-0-15380600-1310973926.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2011/post-3034-0-78933300-1310973930.jpg

UNION DEFENCE FORCE MARKINGS AND "THUMB" HANDLE TO HOLD THE SPEAR WHEN ON PARADE

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THESOUTH AFRICAN VICTORY PARADE CONTINGENT

To celebrate the British and Commonwealth victory over the Axis Powers, a contingent was formed to attend the parade and festivities in London. The Contingent was commanded by Major-General Evered Poole, CB, CBE, DSO, and former GOC of the 6TH South African Armoured Division who had led his division with distinction during the Italian campaign as part of the American 5th Army. The Contingent consisted of 222 men and 19 women and represented all the services and corps of the Union Defence Force. Private Masemula was one of the 9 decorated members of the Non-European Army Contingent that were selected to participate as official members of the Contingent. He was duly re-attested for the Contingent in Durban on 19 April 1946. The Contingent left Durban on 27 April 1946 and arrived in London on 24 May 1946. The NMC carried their issue spears on parade. After attending the festivities and after marching in the Victory Parade on 8 June, the Contingent returned to South Africa and landed in Durban on 6 July 1946. Masemula was discharged on 7 July 1946 at the age of 29. On his Discharge Certificate, Masemula was described as being "SLIM "of build, 6 Foot and 1 inch tall and his conduct was rated as"GOOD" during his service with the Contingent.

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THE VICTORY PARADE IN LONDON: 8 JUNE 1946: THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTINGENT: PRIVATE MASEMULA, M.M., ONE OF THE PARTICIPANTS

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MASEMULA CITATION

"Pte Masemula was captured with Pte H. Tshaka No 10718, 1 S.A.P. at Tobruk on 21.6.42 and after being kept in EL ADEM for a week, they were taken back toTobruk and made to work.

During air raids they noticed that the Italian guards fled to their trenches, so on 22.7.42, during an air raid, they slipped through the wire and escaped. This, in spite of the fact that 4 Basutos had been brought back two days earlier, having escaped and been at large for 5 days, who told them of the hardships and difficulties they had experienced.

They left the camp with two water bottles and a 2-gallon tin not quite full of water and a few biscuits.

They went South towards EL ADEM and then East to the frontier and British Lines.They walked by night and slept by day. When they were lucky they found water and food in abandoned vehicles: otherwise they went short.

They reached the Qattara depression. They went down into it and continued eastwards.When they came up they were exhausted. They decided to risk going north to the coast in order to find water and, as they hoped, our forces.

On 18.8.42 they eventually reached our lines.

These natives of whom Pte Tshaka was in-particular fairly intelligent and able to give information about conditions in TOBRUK performed a remarkable feat in walking about 300 miles across the desert , knowing nothing of the route, in an area controlled by the enemy and with the only hope of chance supplies of foods. The temptation to end it all by surrender must have been very great, but through dogged courage these natives eventually won through.

A very fine performance."

CITATION FOR THE IMMEDIATE AWARD OF THE MILITARY MEDAL: 23 SEPTEMBER 1942

AWARD GAZETTED: SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE: 20NOVEMBER 1942

Edited by sabrigade

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Will, congratulations on a fine article - lots of good information. Should you be able to do these on a regular basis , we could treat them as per "Writing for GMIC " posted at the top of Badges.

One piece of info. that may be of help - the spears are the standard African Constables Assegais. They are longer then the standard SADF spear used by sentries etc.. I suppose these - being longer - were more suited for a parade. SAP issue always have a thumb rest in order that

all of the heads are at the same angle and direction. There were different versions for Game Guards and for Prison Officers. The early ones were made in the UK by Vickers - during the War we made them in S.A.

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Thanks Mervyn,

I will add articles when I can and I should be posting another one today.

I will be displaying Maemula's group and militaria at the SA National Museum of Military History on 30 to 31 July 2011.

Are there any detail articles available on the spears?

Regards,

Will

Edited by sabrigade

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Will - firstly , we have pinned this article for the two weeks. With the spears I have in stock the military short assegai and a game guards - I could send you photos of these. I will see if I have any books covering them. Mervyn

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